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"1. That your Lordship fail not to be with his Majesty at Woodstock. The sight of you will fright some.

"2. That you single not yourself from the other Lords, but justify all the proceedings as your joint acts; and I little fear but you pass conqueror.

"3. That you retort the clamour and noise in this business upon Sir Edward Coke, by the violence of his carriage.

"4. That you seem not dismayed, but open yourself bravely and confidently, wherein you can excel all subjects; by which means I know you shall amaze some and daunt others."

But Yelverton did not know the real cause of Buckingham's and the King's displeasure. It was not the definite action of Bacon and the Council in opposing Coke's illegal violence; it was rather the position assumed by the Lord Keeper of authoritative adviser to the King's Favourite, that had irritated both of them. They were angry, and from their point of view naturally angry, that Bacon did not know his place. He had been guilty of the folly of holding it out almost as a threat, that the Favourite of the King would "go near to lose" many of his friends, if he persisted in allying himself with Coke: as though the friendship of any one were in the least doubtful, or were of the least importance, for one who enjoyed his Majesty's chief affection! In Coke or Yelverton, such a mistake would have been pardonable: they were both blunt, straightforward men, who had never professed such absolute devotion as the Lord Keeper had to the royal will. But Bacon had repeatedly asserted that if he were raised to that high place he would make it his business and pride to be a mere instrument in the hands of the King; he could promise his master nothing but the homage of a perfect obedience, gloria in obsequio. The King and the Favourite had accepted these professions as sincere; they meant to use Bacon as a mere instrument for carrying out their desires; and in proportion to their previous credence in his professions they were now disappointed and irritated that they had placed at the head of the Council a man who apparently meant to have a will of his own. First in the suppression of the Royal Proclamation,1 and now again in this intolerable attempt to intimidate Buckingham, he had manifested an independence which his previous suppleness justified them in 1 See above, p. 254.

regarding as a treacherous ingratitude. Why had he not at least consulted the King before siding against Sir John Villiers? Why had he not taken for granted that the Favourite's brother was supported by the Favourite, and that his will must not be disputed, at all events till the King's pleasure were known? Perhaps Bacon was fondly hoping to carry out the resolution he had committed to paper in the Commentarius Solutus in 16081 -to amuse the King with pastime," so that while James was enjoying himself in Progresses or diverting himself with Scotch distractions, it might be left to the Lord Chancellor to be the real ruler of England. But if so, he was vastly mistaken. James could be led anywhere by a handsome, fluent, emptyheaded Favourite, but not by Bacon. Flatter as he might, Bacon must always be inherently disqualified from playing the part of a Cecil, and still more of a Carr or a Villiers; for he could never succeed in altogether divesting himself of an element of greatness, and James "never attached himself to any man who was truly great." 2

Under these circumstances, no excuses, nor justifications, nor evasions were of the least use to the wretched Lord Keeper. Submission, and nothing else, was his way out of the difficulty. He was to be punished-and he richly deserved punishmentfor supposing that after rising to office by subservience, he could maintain himself in office by independence; for supposing that under such a King as James, working through such a Favourite as Villiers, it would be possible for a versatile, philosophic mind, deficient in moral rigidity, to do anything except what he had promised to do—gloria in obsequio-submit and obey. submitted accordingly; nay, he even offered the Favourite to put his submission into writing, if that would pacify him. Twoyears of the King's concentrated affection had so degraded that affable young man that he actually felt no pain in receiving this offer from a man old enough to be his father, and so richly endowed with intellectual gifts, that even a Favourite should have felt some touch of admiration for him; to whom Buckingham, in a relenting and compassionate mood, sends a pencil note after this fashion :

:

1 See above, p. 147.

2 Gardiner, History, i. 49.

He

"I do freely confess that your offer of submission unto me, and in writing (if so I would have it), battered so the unkindness that I had conceived in my heart for your behaviour towards me in my absence, as out of the sparks of my old affection toward you I went to sound his Majesty's intention how he means to behave himself towards you, specially in any public meeting; where I found on the one part his Majesty so little satisfied with your late answer unto him, which he counted (for I protest I use his own terms) confused and childish, and his vigorous resolution on the other part so fixed, that he would put some public exemplary mark upon you, as I protest the sight of his deep-conceived indignation quenched my passion, making me upon the instant change from the person of a party into a peacemaker; so as I was forced upon my knees to beg of his Majesty that he would put no public act of disgrace upon you, and, as I dare say, no other person would have been patiently heard in this suit by his Majesty but myself, so did I (though not without difficulty) obtain thus much :-that he would not so far disable you from the merit of your future service, as to put any particular mark of disgrace upon your person.

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"Thus your Lordship seeth the fruits of my natural inclination; and I protest all this time past it was no small grief unto me to hear the mouth of so many upon this occasion open to load you with innumerable malicious and detracting speeches, as if no music were more pleasing to my ears than to rail of you: which made me rather regret the ill-nature of mankind, that like dogs love to set upon him that they see once snatched at. And to conclude, my Lord, you have hereby a fair occasion so to make good hereafter your reputation by your sincere service to his Majesty, as also by your firm and constant kindness to your friends, as I may (your Lordship's old friend) participate of the comfort and honour that will thereby come to you. Thus I rest at last

Your Lordship's faithful friend and servant,

G. B."

In return, Bacon pours on Buckingham a gratitude even more profuse than that which he had once offered to Cecil:

"My ever best Lord, now better than yourself, your Lordship's pen, or rather pencil, hath portrayed towards me such magnanimity and nobleness and true kindness, as methinketh I see the image of some ancient virtue and not anything of these times. It is the line of my life and not the lines of my letter that must express my thankfulness; wherein, if I fail, then God fail me, and make me as miserable as I think myself at this time happy by this reviver through his Majesty's clemency and your incomparable love and favour."

Whatever other resolutions Bacon may have broken, none can accuse him of breaking this. The "lines of his life" will henceforth exhibit him in undeviating conformity with the

Favourite's will. On 28 September, Coke was restored to the Council Table, and having paid down £30,000 as her dowry, saw his daughter united to Sir John Villiers: but the Lord Keeper was restored to favour, and never again forfeited it.

§ 37 BACON AS LORD CHANCELLOR

Shortly after the Lord Keeper's submission and restoration to favour, Buckingham began to test Bacon's promise to "express his thankfulness by the lines of his life," by making constant applications to him in favour of Chancery suitors. In so doing, he was acting against an excellent precept which Bacon inserted in the Advice (see p. 248): "By no means be you persuaded to interpose yourself by word or letter, in any cause depending, or like to be depending, in any Court of Justice. . . . If it should prevail, it prevents justice; but if the Judge be so just as not to be inclined thereby, yet it always leaves a taint of suspicion." In November, 1617, we find Buckingham "renewing" a motion which he appears to have made before in behalf of parties in a cause depending. It would seem that Bacon expostulated with him; for three days afterwards Buckingham writes that he "had resolved to give the Lord Keeper no more trouble in matters of controversy depending before him;" yet he desires Bacon's favour in the plaintiff's behalf, with the qualification "so far only as the justice of their cause shall require."

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In January, 1618, the Favourite again pleads for one Sir George Tipping, who "is willing to perform a decree made in Chancery but that he is persuaded," &c., in other words, declines to obey the decree except upon conditions. For this man, Buckingham desired the Lord Keeper's further favour, and hopes that he will "find out some course how he may be exempted from the fear of the sale of his land." Once more (February, 1618) Bacon's expostulations may have touched Buckingham,

1 This paragraph "only appears in the second form of the Advice, written after 1619, when Bacon had had personal experience of the proceedings of Villiers" (Gardiner, History, iii. 29). But, from the next two sentences in the text above, it appears that Bacon had previously remonstrated on the subject in 1617; and Bacon's worst enemies can hardly believe that he did not repeat the remonstrance between 1617 and 1619.

who writes that he had resolved not to write to his Lordship on any matter between party and party, yet—

at the earnest request of my noble friend, the Lord Norris, to whom I account myself much beholden, I could not but recommend unto your Lordship's favour a special friend of his, Sir Thomas Monk, who hath a suit before your Lordship in the Chancery with Sir Robert Basset; which, upon the report made unto me thereof, seemeth so reasonable, that I doubt not that the cause itself will move your Lordship to favour him, if upon the hearing thereof it shall appear the same unto your Lordship as at the first sight it doth unto me. I therefore desire your Lordship to show in this particular what favour you lawfully may for my sake, who will account it as done unto myself."

But after this date there appears to be no further evidence, direct or indirect, that Bacon protested against the "taint of suspicion" which the Favourite continued to cast upon his judgments. Among a number of other letters (1618) one recommends some officers of his Majesty's household against the Lady Vernon, in which Buckingham doubts not "but, as his Majesty has been satisfied of the equity of the cause in his Officers' behalf who have undergone the business by his Majesty's command, your Lordship will also find their cause worthy of your favour." He desires a "speedy end" that his Majesty 'may be freed from further importunity; and the Officers from the charge and trouble of following the suit."

Under the circumstances-after he had once resolved to tolerate these attempted interferences with the course of Lawsome may perhaps think it creditable to Bacon that, so far as is yet known, the pressure of the Favourite did not coerce him to any deliberate perversion of justice, except in one (the following) case, which lasted from the summer of 1617 to the winter of 1618. To the plaintiff (eight years old at his father's death) had been left a legacy of £800. His uncle, Dr. Steward by name, trustee and executor, mixed the trust money with his own; and, when the plaintiff came of age, he disputed his nephew's claim to interest. When the case, on being heard in the Court of Chancery, went for the plaintiff, the defendant, after repeated acts of contumacy, appealed to Buckingham. Buckingham immediately wrote two letters to Bacon, saying in the first, that he owed Dr. Steward "a good turn;" and in the

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